Paris

The City of Lights doesn’t need an introduction. This was my second time to Paris and the enchantment of the city does not diminish.

Soon Jeong was able to work it so that we could stay at the Le Meridian hotel at a discounted price. We arrived on Wednesday April 1 and planned to stay for 9 days. We hoped it would be enough.

Our first morning out greeted us with perfect spring weather; sunny clear skies, cool brisk air that warmed by lunchtime. The Le Meridian is located in Montparnasse on the south side of Paris so we took the Le Metro (subway) to work our way within walking distance of the Eiffel tower.

It was Soon Jeong’s first time to Paris and I think it is safe to say that, she was delighted to see the icon of Paris; the Eiffel Tower.

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After a few photos at the tower we walked around a bit and in the afternoon we went to a spot were we could get the city tour bus. Lots of reasons for doing this. One: the weather was nice; better take advantage of it because the city tour busses have an open top deck. Two: this would be the best way for us to get an over view of the city, Three: it made for an easy day; don’t have to walk all day. And four: it would “reboot” my mental map of Paris so I could navigate us around in following days. The tour was good and the tickets are valid for 24 hrs so we could catch things on the second day that we missed on the first.

[tour bus was a bit expensive but we bought the full package that included a boat ride on the river Seine. 78.00 Euros for two]

April 3rd we made the best of the tour bus taking the bus around in the morning and then getting on the Seine river cruise.

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We finished off with a quick look inside the Church of Nortre Dame.

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April 4th we did more around the city. Just SOOOOO much to see and do.

Sunday April 5th was the first Sunday of the month… that meant, entrance to the Louvre Museum was FREE!! We got there ASAP. We had packed a lunch so we could eat at anytime we wanted and to save money.

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The Louvre Museum is nothing less than astonishing. Just the size of the collections of art work is mind boggling. Add to that the artistic value of the varied works; Rembrandt, Leonardo da Vinci and countless others.

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The proper way to do the Louvre is in small bits. It is simply too much to do in one visit. In fact it is not possible to see all of the museum in one day. 3 full 8hr days would be rushed.

Despite know this it didn’t stop us from trying to see as much as possible. We walked until they kicked us out of the museum. We didn’t quite finish one wing.

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By then it was 6:00 pm and we started walking from there. We walked up the Champs Elysees avenue to the Arch de Triumph. We were looking for a particular restaurant that my buddy Jack had told me about. We never found the restaurant. By then we just sort of gave up on finding dinner. I pointed my mental navigation compass to the metro so we could make our way back to the hotel. By good fortune, we pass the perfect spot for viewing the Eiffel Tower just as it was dusk. We got excellent photos.

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We got back to our hotel room after 9:00 pm We just made ramen in the room for dinner.

This day has become the longest day for us. It was 12 hours of walking, sightseeing and taking photos it left us totally exhausted. Soon Jeong and I can do 6 to 8 hours of walking and photos without any problem. Twelve hours was too much and the next day, Monday, we were too worn out to do anything. We just stayed in the room all day.

About 5pm we decided that we had to get out and do something. We were in PARIS, we couldn’t just sit in the room. Ahhh! Good timing for going to the top of the Eiffel Tower and getting some night photos from the top. So off we went to the tower.

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When you go up the tower you have to take two elevators. Naturally, there is a line that you must wait in for each one. In total it took us nearly 90 minutes to get from the ground to the top. That included waiting in line for tickets. [Two adult tickets to the top: 26.00 Euros]

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Tuesday April 7th was our day to visit the Palace at Versallies. Marietta, my highschool friend that met up with us in Cancun Mexico, joined with us. She was visiting some relatives in the Netherlands and came down to Paris for a few days.

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Louis the XIII had a hunting lodge built in the small village of Versallies in 1624. Louis the XIV decided in the 1660’s that he wanted to move the royal residence and government, out of Paris. Thsu the “hunting lodge” at Versallies needed to be renovated and expanded to be suitable for a king. In May of 1682 Louie the XIV moved in. It took another 6 years of construction to add the finishing touches.

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The Palace at Versallies is one example of extreme luxury. It just goes to show you what you can do if you are an egoist with unlimited wealth. The Royal family lived at Versallies until 1789 when the poor (and hungry) people of France ran them out marking the beginning of the French Revolution.

On Wednesday Soon Jeong took the day off and stayed in the hotel. Together with Marietta and a couple of international students, one from Poland and one from a country in Eastern Europe I had never heard of, drove out to Mont Saint Michel.

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Mont Saint Michel is on an island just 1 km (0.6 miles) off the coast. The first monastery was built there in the 8th century. Over the years it has been added on to until the monastery pretty much covers the entire island.

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On April 9th we checked out and tallied up our visit to Paris. We have concluded that an entire month in Paris will be needed sometime in the future.

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